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Dubai exports rise in first half but growth is slowing

The rate of growth of Dubai's exports slipped in the first six months of the year as a weaker global economy cooled prices and demand for the emirate's goods.

The rate of growth of Dubai's exports slipped in the first six months of the year as a weaker global economy cooled prices and demand for the emirate's goods.

Exports and re-exports rose by 13 per cent to Dh245 billion (US$66.7bn) in the first half of the year, up from Dh217bn in the same period of last year, data from Dubai Customs showed. But that rate was lower than either the 37 per cent rise in exports or the 25 per cent increase in re-exports in the first half of last year from the same period of 2010.

"It's still positive growth but the pace is lower than last year, either because of lower growth in Asia, Europe and elsewhere or because the price of gold has been less strong (in the first half of the year)," said Khatija Haque, a senior economist at Emirates NBD.

Dubai's total foreign trade reached a record Dh602bn during the first half of the year, a 12 per cent rise from Dh537bn in the year earlier period, the data showed.

The emirate's trade data is based on the value, rather than the weighted volume, of goods.

Gold remained Dubai's most valuable export during the period, representing Dh42bn of total trade, ahead of diamonds at Dh8bn. Jewellery and other precious metals accounted for Dh3bn, followed by aluminium at Dh2bn and non-crude oil at Dh2bn.

Gold prices have fallen more than 12 per cent to about $1,660 an ounce in the past year on factors such as a stronger US dollar. In addition, demand has ebbed in India and China, two of the largest gold consumers.

India remained Dubai's top trading partner, accounting for Dh77bn or 13 per cent of exports, re-exports and imports. Dubai's trade with China reached Dh53bn or 9 per cent of total trade. The United States, Switzerland and Saudi Arabia were the next largest trading partners.

Other global trade centres further east in Asia have also shown signs of strain in a slowing world economy.

Exports and re-exports in Hong Kong fell 3.5 per cent last month from July last year.

Singapore's non-oil exports rose by 5.8 per cent over the same periods but June's rise was higher.

Overall, Dubai's trade has rebounded since the global financial crisis dragged down volumes of exports and imports in 2009.

tarnold@thenational.ae

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